A series of short film monologues,
featuring characters living on the edge of society
As they try to navigate their way through an often baffling and alien world,
Mel, Dan, Rachel, Ifor and Rupert find themselves at a turning point.
life will never be
quite the same again...
Acting for Others
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Words from the Edge
'The government's coronavirus performance has been a pantomime'.
Paul Fleming, General Secretary-elect, Equity
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We’ll be uploading each new film in our series from:
Friday 29 May
1. World Backwards
By Carolyn S. Jones
1. WORLD BACKWARDS
A nervous Mel prepares for the meeting she has always dreamed might happen one day. She’s hoping she won’t be a disappointment and tries to give herself a pep talk to boost her confidence which can all too easily be dented. But it’s a meeting that will be memorable in a way she could never have anticipated – one that will turn her world upside down…
Click here to watch World Backwards
Emmeline Braefield as Mel
Smile Casting Talent
2. Time of Their Lives
Friday 5 June
2. TIME OF THEIR LIVES
Dan has just started university and is finding fresher’s week a challenge. The pressure is on to make friends, prop up the bar and join everything going. Dan also has to contend with his Mum calling him constantly to check he’s enjoying himself. But Dan has a sneaking suspicion the week isn’t turning out quite as planned. One thing for sure it isn’t feeling like that much hyped ‘time of his life’. Then Dan spots someone who seems even more like a ‘no mates’ than he is – and must make a decision…
Click here to watch Time of Their Lives
Joshua Jones as Dan
3. Blue Raincoat
Friday 12 June
3. BLUE RAINCOAT
Rachel is clearing her Mum’s house after she died and is stuffing clothes into bin bags, desperate to get this all done as fast as she can. A skip is piled up outside and after a ‘spat’ with sister Jess, she finds herself alone in the empty house. For all her best efforts to ‘get rid’, Rachel is ambushed by memories and something she finds in an old blanket box is to stop her in her tracks...
Click here to watch Blue Raincoat
Emma Wilkes as Rachel
4. No Way Home
Friday 19 June
4. NO WAY HOME
Ifor is a keen Welsh rugby fan living in Gloucestershire where, for all his efforts, he has never quite settled. But at least he can look forward to visits to the club with best friend Ray and to some good natured sparring over their respective teams on match days. It’s at these times that Ifor feels his ‘exile’ most keenly, longing to jump on the train to Cardiff and join the party. Then at the club one evening, after Wales suffers a bruising defeat, things go terribly wrong…
Click here to watch No Way Home
Brendan Purcell as Ifor
5. Murdering Lyndie
Friday 26 June
5. MURDERING LYNDIE
Rupert is an actor waiting in the wings for his cue and remembering a long ago West End triumph. Glass of whisky in hand, he re-visits the highlights and the theatrical anecdotes which have fuelled him over the years. Fondly he remembers his high hopes as a young student starting out at drama school. In the course of his trip down memory lane, Rupert is forced to recall the moment when those high hopes were to be dashed…
Click here to watch the NEW Murdering Lyndie
Anthony Young as Rupert
'We have just watched World Backwards and are VERY impressed. We loved the control and use of stillness, with the emotion just under the surface which made it so much more moving. Seriously very good indeed.'
'I thought the whole piece worked so well - the simple camera work - effective in just letting the story unfold - through the moving script and Emmeline Braefield's poignant performance. Many congratulations! I hope it gets picked up. It really deserves to.'
'Carolyn S. Jones has written and produced a beautifully observed short screenplay whose delicate title "World Backwards" riffs on Carol Ann Duffy's "if poetry could truly tell it backwards, then it would".
Emmeline Braefield plays Mel, anxiously preparing for a meeting that matters. With sensitivity, depths of eye contact and expressive mouth (mirror, make-up, lippy), she is both self-aware and self-critical ("stick to the bloody point, Mel!"). As she narrates herself, she is revealed with sleight-of-gaze: Mel, the camera, us, and even the unknown person she's going to meet. And here's the tension. Who is it? Will they turn up? Why does this both excite and scare her? She draws us in to dare to leave her neutral domesticity.
The second half neatly brings us the answers - and the truth told backwards.
With the perception, emotional literacy and light touch we can expect of this writer, this short play opens up two worlds on the edge.'
'I thought this film monologue was superb. The performance was extremely moving - a totally honest performance which matched the quality of the writing. Thank you so much. I look forward to seeing the others.'
'A beautifully written piece, brought to life by Emmeline Braefield's moving and truthful performance. During lockdown, I have been constantly surprised and delighted by the creativity of others and this was a very fine example - all the more so when you realise it was filmed by the actress herself.'
'Just watched World Backwards - wow! A superb script, beautifully paced and plotted. Emmeline Braefield as Mel produced a riveting performance, quietly poignant, yet radiating hope, anxiety, expectation, wry humour and sadness. The production values were outstanding. Huge congratulations to all involved (but especially to the writer!). This was a gem of a play that should be aired on BBC2 and BBC4. I can't praise it enough. Stunning!'
'Within the space of 13 short minutes, Carolyn S. Jones keeps the audience guessing as to who the mystery man is that Mel is meeting and what part he might play in her life. Emmeline Braefield gives a masterful and nuanced performance as Mel, a pressure cooker of anxiety, anger, pain and love right up to the very last - and very moving - moment.'
'A sweet story exploring the strains that never leave our hearts; we are all still the children of our pasts.'
Time of Their Lives
'Joshua Jones gives an engaging and understated performance as a young man struggling to cope with the loneliness of university life and finding hope in an unexpected direction. Carolyn S. Jones' beautifully crafted script takes you on an emotional journey. Time of Their Lives is a gem.'
'Time of Their Lives was superb - subtle, poignant, and beautifully understated. A magnificent, nuanced performance from Joshua, matching the writing to perfection. This series is the best thing to come out of lockdown!'
'I was captivated by Time of Their Lives, telling of an eighteen-year-old’s first week at university and the worries of his mother back home. Had he used his iron?! I loved this boy, played by Joshua Jones, and was with him every step of the way. He took the piece at a seamless pace, never overstated. I have two sons and an 18-year-old grandson. This perfect monologue went straight to my heart.'
'What a great script and a wonderful interpretation by the talented Joshua Jones. I really believed him. It reminded me so much of when I went off to uni. I honestly forgot I was watching an actor perform.'
'I thought Josh's performance was outstanding, but also a brilliant script. At the end of the monologue there were so many unanswered questions and ambiguities. I was certainly left wondering: What next?'
'Emma Wilkes’ performance is compelling, beautifully understated and utterly truthful.'Simon McBurney, Actor, Artistic Director of Complicité
'Emma Wilkes performance in Blue Raincoat is quietly truthful and absorbing. She shows a superb sense of control in perfectly pacing this miniature drama to its compelling conclusion.'Bill Alexander. Theatre Director RSC, Birmingham Rep
'This is a very watchable film. Emma tells the story and delivers the text with such ease, truth and confidence, you get so involved, it’s a joy. There exists a very fine line between no connection and over doing the emotions - it’s very clear that Emma has honed this rendition to perfection. Go take a look!'Gary Owston Senior Voice & Dialect Tutor 99 - 2017 (retired); Leader of summer school programmes - Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Director & Principal - The Bristol Acting Academy.
'As Rachel clears her dead mother's clothes, the discovery of an old blue raincoat - a present to her mother from her father - makes Rachel revisit her childhood, her sometimes troubled relationship with her mother and her determination not to repeat what she sees as her mother's mistakes in her marriage. 'Blue Raincoat' is a beautifully written and beautifully performed monologue by Emma Wilkes on mother-daughter love, on loss and how it's never too late to re-write history and understand someone else's choices.'
'What a beautiful piece of writing and acting. I found it immensely moving, such a subtle and perceptive script, (think Alan Bennett's Talking Heads) and so sensitively performed, shot and edited. Amazing in lockdown conditions. Many congratulations to all concerned, especially to the writer, Carolyn S. Jones and the actress, Emma Wilkes. Looking forward to more.'
'Bereaved and left with her mother's collection of "vintage" clothes, Rachel (Emma Wilkes) relives her own childhood and her mother's failed marriage as she consigns everything to black bin bags. It's an experience that most of us will go through when our parents die. There is always a painful dichotomy between the value placed on everyday objects by our mothers and fathers and the way that we who are left view these abandoned objects. "It's just stuff" complains Rachel. And very inconvenient stuff at that. Charity shops won't take more than three items. A large Victorian wardrobe has to be smashed up before it can be disposed of on the skip outside. But at the end of this gentle monologue, physically and emotionally scarred Rachel is transfigured by an unexpected attachment to her mother's old blue raincoat. "I get it," she tells us. "It's not just stuff. There's a little touch of redemption at the end of Carolyn S. Jones' one-woman lockdown play and those of us who have been through the experience of clearing out a parental house will feel grateful for that.'
'I have been highly impressed by the previous two monologues, and was looking forward to watching the third. I was not disappointed. I am, at the moment, sorting through the contents of my Aunt's house. The finely written script and outstanding performance of this monologue exactly captures the mix of emotions experienced during this activity; the decisions that have to be made and then sometimes overturned and complex relationships that are re-asessed. I particularly liked how memories are sometimes recovered, and then found not to be entirely accurate. This is writing of the first order clearly based on personal experience.'
No Way Home
'The work of a playwright at the height of her powers, all touching the common nerve and heart through the personal. I'm not surprised actors of this calibre were drawn to the scripts; nor that these monologues have gained a following.'
'I've watched with growing admiration the monologues written by Carolyn S. Jones and the performances from a group of actors who've handled everything themselves - lighting, shooting, sound - and they have never disappointed me. I am deeply impressed by such talent. Brendan Purcell in the latest one, No Way Home, gives a superb and moving performance as Ifor. He strikes all the right notes as the reason he is in a prison cell is gradually revealed. It's deeply moving - what a stunning actor he is. The only sadness now is that the next one is the final one. Don't miss it!
'Very occasionally one is privileged to witness drama that combines masterly writing, the most subtle and heart-wrenching narrative, and outstanding acting, to create an unforgettable experience. No Way Home is a perfect example. The story was riveting and superbly paced, and the poignant conclusion was enhanced by Christopher Jones's wonderful singing. Brendan Purcell's performance as a bewildered but fundamentally honest man coming to terms with catastrophe, was stunning - magnificently assured, restrained and convincing. This was a gem of a production in every way, reflecting huge credit to everyone involved, and, like all the others in Tales from the Edge, deserves wide recognition and a huge audience.
'A poignant tale of friendship and regret. The nuanced performance by Brendan Purcell (what a find!) brought to life a very poignant script, and the confines of his prison cell certainly offered the ideal space for his soul-searching monologue. Being a Welsh girl myself, I was totally seduced by the gentle timbre of his voice. How could such a man be guilty of any crime...?'
'In Murdering Lyndie Rupert reveals that his moment of off-stage inattention derailed two lives, professionally and personally; but the real tragedy, we suspect, lies deeper, for both him and Lyndie. This was so subtly conveyed! It was humane, sad, but quietly humorous, too, and Anthony Young's performance was utterly convincing - restrained, refined, and poignant. What a lovely conclusion to an outstanding series! I've looked forward to every one; and each was a self-contained masterpiece of writing, performance, and production. It's been the highlight of the last five weeks - it's so sad that the series has come to an end... It must be picked up and widely broadcast! Meanwhile, can we hope for more? Fingers crossed! Many congratulations!'
'In Murdering Lyndie, Anthony Young gives a totally convincing performance as the fading middle aged actor, Rupert. The darkly comic script by Caroline Jones accurately conveys, in this mannered monologue, the vocabulary and phrases of the stage. Rupert gives an account of the catastrophic incident he has convinced himself robbed him of West End stardom. It is a tale you feel he has often repeated, and has become a performance in it's own right. The clutched whisky tumbler suggests there may be other causes for his failure.
An indication of the quality of this script and it's delivery is that I needed to remind myself at the end that it was a performance, and not a fly on the wall recording in a provincial theatre's dressing room. Congratulations are due to all concerned.'
'Having now watched all 5 monologues I was struck by their range and variety. Not one of them disappointed - the writing and the acting were consistently excellent. I do hope they continue to raise money for the excellent cause Acting for Others - supporting theatre workers. I wish all who were involved in making these monologues a long and successful future - you will survive these hard times, I’m convinced of it. Thank you for all your hard work.'
'This was a claustrophobic piece from the tight setting in the dressing room from where Rupert sits hemmed in by costumes to his descriptions of the miserable lodgings he shared with the eponymous Lyndie where they lived on Pringles. The play that effectively ends his dreams is the Rat Trap, a suitable epitaph to his dismal career. Rupert is trapped by his failure, if only he'd remembered to murder Lyndie.'
'In Murdering Lyndie, Anthony Young plays the part of Rupert, an ageing actor, who - waiting in his dressing room for his cue - reminisces on the not-so-golden age of the theatre. With the quick crossword and a whisky to hand, he confesses to the dreadful occasion on which he missed his cue, thereby 'forgetting' to murder Lyndie. The poor woman, stranded on stage, had been forced to murder herself. Young, quietly funny, embodies the older actor with his fussy little mannerisms. And Lyndie, it appears, is still in his life, waiting at home with a central heating boiler that's gone on the blink...'
If you would like to send in a review please contact Carolyn S. Jones
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